SHARED by: Melissa van Wijk, Director of Tiny Tot Fitness and Mini Movers

Not all babies reward your efforts at tummy time with smiles and joy, especially at the beginning. It is recommended that babies start tummy time shortly after birth to ensure proper development of the spine and muscles. With everything else going on it’s easy for tummy time to slip through the cracks, particularly if it’s not baby’s favorite thing to do. Unfortunately, the later you start, the likelier infants are to be a little fussy during their first attempts. 

It is helpful to think that they are only reacting to something that is new and therefore challenging (I understand this is easier said than done!). You are not hurting your child or asking them to do something they are not capable of learning. They simply need a minute to get used to it and figure out this new experience. They spend all their time sleeping on their backs, in (car) seats and strollers that they are not immediately comfortable in this new position of the body.

A few things that may help:

  • Put your Baby on his or her tummy on your chest counts as tummy time – especially in the early weeks!
  • Work up to 1-5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. Pick strategic times when your child is most likely to be content, like right after a nap. If it’s less than a minute the first few times, that’s OK. Then work up to about 45-60 minutes by 2-4 months. 
  • Newborns and infants love mirrors. Some Tummy Time mats incorporate mirrors which may help you make it more fun for your child. 
  • Get on your tummy with your child, it helps! 
  • Incrementally increase the amount of time on their tummy as well the amount of time you let them fuss before helping them or taking them out of Tummy Time. By around 6 months, you want your child to spend the bulk of their awake time on their tummies, sitting or at least working toward it.

The more you practice, the easier it will get for both you and baby. Try out our new Mini Movers class is designed to help increase your child’s physical strength and coordination.